The Man in the Bicorne


TALIM Glass negatives Diplomat with cannons

Diplomat in Tangier, no date. Glass negative collection, TALIM

The man in the bicorne is probably not an American.

We love to feature historic photos, and this is one from the Legation's collection of glass negatives from the Tangier of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  We've shown it to a few people who know the homes associated with Tangier's long diplomatic history, and here are a few of their comments:

"He certainly carries a lot of fruit salad on his chest."

"Yes, I agree, it must be a diplomat, maybe French or English. With the clothes he is wearing he must be one of these nationalities."

We haven't yet identified house, dates, or the identity of the man in the bicorne.

American diplomats were known to have worn bicorne or two cornered hats, but mostly were admonished to wear “the simple dress of an American citizen” (scroll down for a discussion of American diplomats and uniforms), and President Franklin Roosevelt put an end to use of uniforms in 1937.

Homburgs were another thing: I remember one of my fellow vice-consuls in the late Seventies finding wording in the Foreign Affairs Manual about Consuls "removing their homburgs and placing on their chest" when approaching a visiting naval vessel in port.  Neither homburgs or bicornes, I assure you, were ever a part of my wardrobe.

Gerald Loftus

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